Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Plays Well With Others: Making 5e Bloodied

Yesterday I talked about how my Nentir Vale/Demon Slayers 5e game is a reboot of my 4e game and I will be adding more 4e elements to it.

Today I spent some time with D&D 4e Essentials to see what I could glean from that.

I know a lot of people had problems with 4e.  I was not one of those people.  I liked 4e and really wanted to give it more time.

5e is so flexible that there is so much you can do to it and it won't break the system.  4e was a very tight game, so tight that pulling out one piece had some serious impacts.

I am hoping that this will not break 5e; I doubt it will.

Bloodied in 5e
When a creature or character is reduced to half their HP or less (rounding down) they are bloodied.  This can trigger a number of actions.  I want to mix as much 4e and 5e as I can here.

These are taken from Dungeons & Dragons Player Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.

When you are bloodied you may invoke your Dragonborn Fury.  You gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls.

When you are bloodied during an encounter you may invoke your Half-Orc Resilience.  The first time you are bloodied during an encounter you gain temporary hp equal to your Proficiency Bonus + your Constitution modifier.

Bloodhunt: You gain a +1 racial advantage on attack rolls against bloodied targets.

All of these creatures (for the most part) come from Dungeons & Dragons Essentials: Monster Vault.

Aboleth Overseer
Psychic Slime (standard; recharges when first bloodied)

Angelic Presence: When not bloodied attacks against the angel are at Disadvantage.

Death Ray (necrotic):  If the target is bloodied before or after the attack, it is also dazed (save ends).

Blood Fiend
The blood fiend gains combat advantage against any living bloodied enemy.

When bloodied the creature burrows underground and uses it's Second Wind.

Demon, Babu
Bite: The target also takes ongoing 5 acid damage, or ongoing 10 acid damage if the babau is bloodied (save ends).

Demon, Hezrou
Noxious Stench: Any enemy that makes an attack while in the aura takes 10 poison damage, or 20 poison damage while the hezrou is bloodied.

Demon, Marilith
Weapon Dance (melee): Recharge when first bloodied. Can attack again.

Demon, Vrock
Spores of Madness: DC 20 Wisdom Save to enemies within 5'.  On a failed save 3d10+6 Poison damage and the target is dazed.  Successful save, half damage.

Demon, Balor
Flaming Body: Normally aura is 2 squares or 10 feet. When bloodied it expands to 3 squares/15 feet.  Any enemy that starts its turn in the aura takes 10 fire damage, or 20 fire damage while the balor is bloodied.

Devil, Kyton
Chains of Vengeance: The devil can attack with it's chains twice.

Dragon (all)
Bloodied Breath: When first bloodied the dragon can recharge and use it's breath weapon.
When Bloodied a Dragon can critical on 18-20.

Drake, Rage
When bloodied the rage drake has Advantage on attacks.

Eye of Flame
Fiery Burst (when first bloodied and again when the eye of flame is reduced to 0 hit points) Close burst 2; DC 20 Dexterity save; 2d8 + 6 fire damage.

Blood Frenzied: The gnoll adds their Proficiency bonus to damage to all melee attacks when bloodied.

Golem, Flesh
When bloodied the golem can make a slam attack at Advantage.

When bloodied make one additional claw attack.

Lizard Folk
Additional tail sweep attack (1d6) when first bloodied.

Lycanthrope, Werewolf
Attack advantage on bloodied targets.
Proficiency bonus added to damage when bloodied.

Ochre Jelly 
When bloodied the creature splits into two creatures, each with hit points equal to one-half its
current hit points. Effects on the original ochre jelly do not apply to the second one.
(this is in addition to the split described in the 5e MM).

Stunning Screech: When bloodied the owlbear will Screech (close blast, 15'). DC 15 Constitution save or be stunned.

The vampire takes damage while bloodied they become insubstantial and gains fly speed 60'. The vampire cannot attack or use cloud of bats. This effect lasts for 1 hour or until the vampire ends it as a minor action.
The vampire has combat Advantage on bloodied targets.

I am not sure how all of these will work out.  In many cases, the monsters are now more deadly.  I might need to compensate with a bonus of 5 to 10 XP.

If it works well my son has offered to do more of these for me.


Keith Davies said...

If you're concerned about bloodied condition making monsters tougher (and remember, you're offering it to PCs too, and they each get to do it more often than any monster), perhaps have bloodied condition instead change what the monster has available.

That is, bloodied adds an ability or recharges and ability, say, but prevents the use of another one. Being bloodied forces the monster to change modes, not necessarily get more powerful.

(Also, the Angel is straight up weaker when bloodied... which might mean it's stronger when not bloodied, so this could be a meaningless distinction.)

Keith Davies said...

Angry DM had a series on emulating phased encounters (such as you see in classic JRPGs) in D&D: beating down a boss _once_ doesn't end the fight, it forces a change in the encounter. I describe it in shorter form (along with some other options) in JRPG-Inspired Encounter Design.

Doctor Futurity said...

Very cool, I adopted some rules from 4E for bloodied conditions in 5E but I think I'll crib these for future encounters!

Unknown said...

I took two big things from 4e into my 5e games.

Monster archetypes for less homogeny in encounters, and passive abilities for powerful monsters.

For example:
My group never encounters "10 kobolds" they encounter a patrol of 5 kobold minions (1HP and don't take damage on successful saves), 2 kobold brutes (extra HP, less damage), a skirmisher (Extra movement, lower AC), and 2 Artillery (extra ranged damage, less health)

And for the 2nd:
Merely standing close to a fire elemental triggers Con saves vs damage, The demilich exudes an aura of hopelessness requiring a Cha save vs disadvantage for that round. Standing too close to the djinn imposes disadvantage on ranged attacks from its swirling tempest around it, and so on.

Keith Davies said...

Precursor to JRPG-Inspired Encounter Design, I wrote Improved Encounter Economy and Design that does some of that, Dirk. One of the major considerations was ensuring each encounter had about one opponent per PC -- or small team, such as a goblin mounted on a wolf, or a pair of kobold trapmakers (rogues).

In D&D 3.x-based systems (which includes Pathfinder), a 'CR=APL' encounter is a pretty casual beatdown unless you're already hurting. A party of four or five level 4 PCs against a CR 4 creature is not a tough fight, and is not intended to be. If you split that up so you've a boss a couple CR below party level and a bunch of weaker creatures such that it all ends up at the same CR as the party level (which is to say, one at APL-2 and four at APL-6), the weaker ones are pretty close to being one-pop minions.